Undoubtedly, 2020 was the year that will make it to history as the one in which the Covid-19 pandemic crippled the whole world, bringing our lives to a screeching halt. And, of course, the education sector was no different.
Unexpectedly, gone were the days when students used to attend in-person classes. And the pandemic outbreak compelled educational institutions to plan for closures and manage various challenges. Nevertheless, despite these adversities, these challenging times spurred innovation and welcomed some new trends in this pivotal arena.
Blended learning became a new norm for students. And teachers became more flexible in their teaching approaches in terms of assessment and curriculum development. Also, for some evident reasons, we witnessed enormous leaps in the quality of digital learning tools.
Mental wellness continues to be the utmost priority for educational institutions. Along with offering a quiet space for students to practice sanctuary, various institutes provide access to counselors for the support and well-being of students. Moreover, SAT exams required for admission might go digital and be reduced from 3 to 2 hours in the upcoming years, thus, making it a less stressful experience for students. It’s safe to affirm that the education sector witnessed positive evolutions in almost every tier and has experienced much-needed reforms.
Ahead, we’ve discussed some more prominent academic trends that will continue to shape the future of the education sphere:
Professional development of educators
The continuing advancements in technology have made it critically important for educators to stay abreast of the newest competencies. Hence, today, various schools have taken the initiative to launch professional development programs to help educators improve lateral thinking abilities and learn novel teaching pedagogies.
However, professionals who wish to expand their current skillset and train aspiring educators should consider becoming a professor of education. Ideally, a professor of education comes up with the newest assessment methods and performs research to take the field to unprecedented heights.
But this begs a crucial question, how do you become a professor and make headway in your career trajectory? A higher education credential such as a doctor of education degree program can help individuals gain insights into the academic world and pursue their passion. The degree imparts the best practices to leverage modern technologies, develop instructional methods, and keep updated with the education sector trends. In this way, students can have the best learning experience since highly skilled and dedicated education professors have trained their instructors.
Personalized learning and teaching
We all are acutely aware of the fact that every student learns differently. But how can we use this information to cater to the learning needs of students? The answer lies in personalization.
Previously, it was challenging for teachers to manage large classrooms and serve students’ individual needs. However, with the emergence of e-learning platforms, teachers and students can take a personalized approach. For instance, a real-time chat between a teacher and student, continual access to the cloud, and the flexibility to choose study hours have streamlined the process of education delivery.
Personalized learning and teaching are remarkable trends that might continue to 2022 and even beyond this year. Students can learn without paying much heed to time constraints and location barriers.
This trend has also proved to be a game-changer for special needs students. Today, various schools have started to incorporate inclusive learning environments for students with special needs rather than restricting them to special education modules only. Finally, the education sector acknowledges that it comprises numerous Stephen Hawking, whose brilliance might go underused due to insufficient resources.
For quite a long time now, the education system has mainly hinged on the STEM model. The essential aspects of this approach were Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. However, this model has grown antiquated with time, and the current education system now mainly revolves around the STEAM model.
The A in the STEAM refers to Arts, which encompasses the creative aspect. According to the report issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, STEM and STEAM-related jobs will likely grow by 7.7% by 2030. And this depicts the fact that various industries recognize the need for creative thinking ability, specifically in teaching and innovation. Thus, businesses are on the lookout for professionals who excel in disciplines of art and creativity.
A STEAM approach isn’t just a way to learn; instead, it’s primarily a method for students to comprehend the subject matter. Additionally, it allows individuals to broaden their horizons and think outside the box. And in tandem with the knowledge of science, tech, and math, the STEAM model also facilitates students to learn various subjects such as confidence and self-assurance.
Soft skills training
Unquestionably, the recent pandemic has paralyzed the whole job market. And in the circumstances like these, being good on paper alone isn’t enough. So instead, the demand has shifted to individuals who possess the most sought-after soft skills.
The Future of Jobs 2020 report stated that the demand for problem-solving, critical thinking and self-management skills will likely soar upwards by 2025. Today, employers are in quest of professionals who possess decision-making capabilities and exhibit strong leadership qualities. However, the emerging trend of online learning has made it extremely difficult for educationists to cultivate these skills.
Nonetheless, the inclination towards skills-based learning methods rather than rote learning can help educators achieve the goal. Many educational institutions highlight the need to develop management, cognitive thinking, and problem-solving skills.
In parallel, educators are also working to permeate communication and teamwork skills in individuals with the help of classroom learning. This way, students can brace themselves for the challenges that may crop up in the real world and equip themselves with the crucial employability skills to maneuver the world of work.
As technology continues to shape society, it also leaves a tremendous impact on the education sector. Cutting-edge technologies have broadened educational abilities in unimaginable ways. Today, the latest science-based methods have enhanced students’ learning experience and outcomes. Additionally, learning environments look more natural as students can remain online and offline synchronously, further improving engagement.
And while learning has become more convenient, aspirations have also grown a degree higher. Academic shifts and new trends in the education industry have proposed solutions for possibly every crisis, as we witnessed during the pandemic.
Also, since we live in volatile times, it will be exciting to watch which trends will likely gain momentum and which ones will subside with time. Some may only remain for short intervals, while others may leave a long-lasting influence on students. Most importantly, these trends will likely revamp the education landscape in the forthcoming years.